April 8th, 2005

pod

Jesus loves the children, only when they are quite rich. The rest of them can die, or become a pie.

I had to walk over a mile to the Subway today, due to stoppages in service that are spinning wildly out of control. I had done 90 minutes on the treadmill, so I was already a little irritated at having to hoof it that distance on my tender feet, but what I saw along the way turned my irritation to profound sadness.

As I approached the 96th street station I saw that part of 97th street was cordoned off by a blue "Police Line Do Not Cross" barrier. This was right in front of a school, and there were what seemed to be hundreds of children in the street. I immediately thought that something had gone horribly wrong, perhaps even a school shooting, but as I approached the kids I realized that none of them looked particularly traumatized or upset. In fact they were playing, some jumping rope, some playing soccer, and a large group playing tag between the parked cars. I soon put together what was going on, these kids were on recess from their school and their playground was...a blocked off city street. This struck me as mind-boggling. When I was in elementary school we had a rubber covered playground in back of the school, walled off from the city and full of jungle-gyms, seesaws, handball courts and the like. In High School we had a courtyard that consisted mostly of basketball courts, but was fine for handball or even football if it wasn't too crowded. These kids were left with...a street?

As I walked through the crowd of children, watching them at play, a young boy, probably around 11 or 12, ran by me playing tag. He dodged between two cars and promptly tripped over a concrete tree planter, falling to the ground and whacking his head on the sidewalk. He tried to get up and a trickle of blood fell from the back of his head. I almost stopped to help, but some of his playmates ran up, helped gather him to his feet, and took him to see a supervising adult. I continued on to the subway with considerably less concern for my feet.

Let me say upfront that I think it's criminal that these kids are forced to play in the street. It's not safe, it's not well-designed for recreation, or designed for recreation at all. I can't imagine an excuse for a society as wealthy and productive as ours to treat our children with such disdain and respect. Watching that boy fall I couldn't help but think about all the anti-tax crusaders, those who think that the highest moral claim is for people to "Keep the money they earned." There has never been a point of view that stank more heavily of bullshit.

Nobody in this country has made it on their own. How many of the so-called "Self made millionaires" owe their success to the land-grant universities or the GI bill? How many have relied on an educated and healthy populace to work in their factories and research labs? We are all part of the same society and as we reap the benefits of it we owe it to that society to pay back into the public coffers in accordance with our abilities to do so. I have no use for those who would rather buy a third Hummer than give a child a safe place to play. None. There is no excuse for it and I don't want to live in a world where people pretend there is. The fact that I have to is one of the great sadnesses of my life.

The conservative and libertarian positions are ultimately devoid of morality or reason. They are based purely in greed and the desire to debase one's fellow man in order to enhance one's sense of personal worth. A rising tide does lift all boats, but the conservatives make the claim that rising boats lift the tide. That is a patent falsehood. I am tired of pretending such ideas have merit or moral standing, they do not. Anyone who considers himself a Christian should want to do whatever he can to help the least among us, to make sure that a poor boy in Public school does not have to play in a dangerous street or "learn" in a bathroom stall because of lack of classrooms, or miss school for weeks because he cannot afford to see a doctor. Anyone who cares about humanity should want that as well. Libertarians are the epitome of inhumane. They would have it that a rapist can simply pay his victim money and walk away a free man to rape again (if he can afford it.) They want financial aristocracy established and they want it now.

Those who claim that Liberals should not impose their views on others are dead wrong. We have all benefited from liberal policies. Those of us who believe differently than what the majority would have us believe and want the right to worship (or not) as we see fit? Liberals to thank. We have liberals to thank for the fact that we do not have to bow our heads to royalty (Yet, give the Bushie Bushie fanatics 30 years.) Liberals to thank for science and technology. Liberals to thank for this country itself. Thomas Jefferson was no more a conservative than Paul Wellstone.

It is time for action. I can't comfortably sit on my large ass and do nothing while young boys endanger their health in savage streets so that billionaires can have property and money to build sports stadiums for corporate clientele on the public dime. I can't deal with this corrupt selfish 'morality' and the greedy motherfuckers who would rather they have a billion dollars and someone else have none than they have half a billion and the other person have...enough.

What can be done? I do not know. It's gnawing at me right now. I keep seeing that boy and I keep worrying about his friends and his future and if he has to play in the street then what is he learning in that horrible school, brought low by the indifference of the hellish ruling class and the tainted hateland called "The South." A land built on slavery and oppression has failed to raise itself from its base roots. Am I the only one who thinks that America would be better off if we'd let the shitty little rebels form their own little shitty country of morons and fanatics, instead of outbreeding us and trying to take over ours?

On the ride home from work a woman started preaching on the train. She was chattering on and on about how salvation comes from Jesus and how only through loving him can you avoid hell. What kind of fucked up sick motherfucker creates an entire wonderful world, puts living breathing thinking creatures in it, and then wants them to attend ONLY to him and will torture them for eternity if they don't, but fails to communicate this directly, instead sending ONE dude down 2000 years ago to talk about it for like 3 years? Even if I believed in god I would tell him to go fuck himself on principal alone. I almost said "FUCK JESUS" in the train, but I was too tired and I hadn't eaten so I didn't want to get into a fight. I regret it though.

The experience has inspired me to write a short script that I shall probably send to Robert Peate because I think he would get a kick out of it, if he wants to see it.
  • Current Music
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Short hair suspicion

GO BOBBY GO!

Bob Herbert has an Op-Ed in today's New York Times that absolutely everyone should read.

He's both incredibly correct and incredibly evocative in his description of the blight of young death we ALLOW to go on in our inner cities and poor minority neighborhoods. The culture of life people apparently find it much more worth their time to cluster down in Florida praying over a brainless woman than to worry about the various brown and tan young people being cut down far before their times all over the nation. That's to be expected, since most of the Christian lunatics are from the Taintland down South and have sprung from a culture that glorifies slavery and mistreatment of minorities as their Christian right.

So what's the excuse for the rest of us? We care, right? It matters to us, no? Why are we ALLOWING it to happen. And we are allowing it, because you know if this shit was happening on Park Avenue it would not be allowed. Even in the darkest hours of New York there were certain neighborhoods that were pretty close to absolutely safe. Heck in my neighborhood there was a clear dividing line between where the crimes happened and where they didn't. What marked that line? The line of sight of a guard booth on the corner right across from my house. Nobody ever got raped in my building, but a block or two over? Open season on co-eds.

There are solutions to this problem. They are police on the street and gun registration laws. I'm not necessarily in favor of gun control because we DO have the second amendment, and if we ignore that one then we can ignore the first amendment. Bearing arms is constitutional, sure. Where in the constitution does it say that we have to burn purchase information ONE DAY after the purchase is made? Is that part of a well-regulated militia? Where in the constitution does it talk about gun shows with NO oversight? Skeeter wants to buy a shotgun NOW cause he's good and drunk and durn it Jesus wants him to shoot that deer? Fuck Skeeter. We need to be able to follow the chain of ownership of guns and KNOW how they ended up in the hands of the criminals who shot Tafare (If the wackos can call HER Terri I can call him Tafare.) Statistics show that most of the guns used in crimes come from a VERY SMALL minority of dealers. Those dealers need to be prosecuted for breaking the law and for helping a plague of murders spread among our minority youth. I feel just as angry for a young college kid shot down in his prime for no reason as I do for the young kid who cracks his head on the sidewalk playing among the cars. These things DO NOT HAVE TO HAPPEN! THEY ARE NOT PART OF A CIVILIZED SOCIETY! THEY ARE A SICKNESS!

They say guns don't kill people, and it's true to an extent. Many murders done by gun would be done via knife or baseball bat if guns were not available. On the other hand, has anyone ever heard of someone being struck by a stray baseball bat? Stabbed by an automatic knife? Guns DO kill people, and the murders caused solely by guns are the WORST SORTS OF MURDERS. They are the evil reasonless careless murders. We need to know whose guns are killing these people and HOLD THEM RESPONSIBLE. You don't take care of your weapon and it gets stolen and used in a crime? Then YOU sir are part of that crime. You are culpable.

Gun ownership is not something that will go away in our society, even though the second amendment excuse for it has become pretty silly over time. You are not opposing the U.S. government no matter how many guns you have, we've seen that time and time again. For a militia to oppose federal force now it'd need tanks, planes, and nuclear weapons. The only kind of war the gun owners could wage against the feds now would be a Guerrilla war of...terrorism. Maybe it's worth letting them keep their guns for that purpose, since lord knows the government's getting pushy enough these days that the trigger option just might become a necessity sometime down the line. I do with the gun nuts could see the parallel between their weapon ownership and usage and that of the guerrilla forces in Iraq, but that's probably too much to ask. For now I would settle for making them take responsibility for their guns and whose hands their guns get into. Someone sold or gave a gun to the man who killed Tafare. Someone is responsible beyond the person who pulled the trigger. That person should be hauled into the light to face his shame. He helped cut down a young life just as it was starting to blossom. I hope the Rambo fantasies were worth it.
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    Sting - I Can't Stand Losing You